Take Her Away
She wants Maui sun; you'd rather explore Roman ruins.
THE FIX "Find somewhere you'll both be thrilled to visit," says Reid Bramblett, founder of the trip-planning Web site reidsguides.com. (He suggests the Mayan Riviera as a solution to the duel above.) Trumping or caving in to her plans will create tension that can fester during the trip.
THE FINISHING TOUCH Set aside time to enjoy day trips or events solo; recap over dinner.
You're going on a 3-day vacation; she packs for 2 weeks.
THE FIX Instead of complaining about her cargo, help her control the two biggest variables: weather and occasion. Provide her with a week's worth of forecasts and a List of activities, and she'll be less likely to overpack.
THE FINISHING TOUCH Ship her luggage ahead using FedEx ground; you'll pay only $17 on a 20-pound bag. Lighten your own luggage with the checklist at reidsguides.com.
You'd like to whisk her away, but you can't foot the bill.
THE FIX Spring for day trips or dinners, but agree on the larger expenses before you leave, says Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., a marriage therapist in San Francisco. And create a trip fund to cover airfare and hotel.
THE FINISHING TOUCH Let your chivalry shine in more-romantic ways: Call ahead to the concierge to arrange to have champagne and flowers waiting in your hotel room.
A frenzied departure schedule threatens to sour your takeoff.
THE FIX Polish off preparations at least 24 hours before your flight leaves. And avoid flights before 10 a.m., when traffic is worst, suggests Bramblett. Arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes early and kill time separately--by looking at magazines at a kiosk or getting lost in a book.
THE FINISHING TOUCH Schedule a car or limo service for pickup and arrival. You'll avoid the hefty long-term parking fees, and the driver's blaring horn makes for an effective backup alarm clock.
You're in Mexico. You're lost. No hablas español.
THE FIX Forget Berlitz. "Just mention the biggest, most famous spot in town and slap a question mark at the end," says Bramblett. Or grab your hotel's business card when you head out for the day. Show it to a cabbie and he'll get you home.
THE FINISHING TOUCH Learn six phrases in the country's language: "Yes," "No," "Please," "Thank you," "Excuse me," and "Do you speak English?" Foreigners are much more likely to help if they see you're attempting their native tongue.
By Matt Bean